Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

Advertising meets Medicine

March 24, 2010


Trendy Ad friend from previous life: OH MY GOD! you had to do a GENITAL EXAM ON A REAL PERSON?

Me: Yeah! It was awesome. It’s just so great that people donate their time to be patients, you know? We couldn’t learn otherwis…*cut off*

TAFFPL: Ew. I just think it’s really weird that there is this whole subset of the population who are deemed “doctors” and people just, like, go to them and take their pants off and show them their sores and stuff.

Me: *blinks*

TAFFPL: It really freaks me out.

Me: Doctors, as a concept, freak you out?

TAFFPL: Totally.

Me: *blinks*

TAFFPL: *blinks*

Me: So how IS {insert trendy ad agency}?

TAFFPL (visibly relaxes now that horrible topic is behind us): Oh, it’s amazing! I’m working with accounts on this awesome campaign at the moment for {insert fast food chain}. It’s so satisfying to be able to make a real difference to the client. You know?

Me: oh yeah. I really, uh, miss that.


Food for thought

April 4, 2009


I’ve read a lot about Dr John McDougall. He interests me a lot, aside from the fact that his profile shots with Mrs McDougall belong hung above the fireplace of a woodlands house, or in a 1970’s winter fashion catalogue.

He runs a 10 day live in program in California aiming to reverse chronic disease. Amongst other things, McDougall advocates that nutrition is one of the most effective ways to prevent and treat heart disease (and cops it from cardiovascular surgeons who are losing their bypass patients to him).  His successful ‘Star McDougallers’ are real life endorsements for the removal of animal products in the diets of CHD patients. The whole testimonial thing is a bit creepy but that’s probably just an American thing. The style of filming, set design and editing is a little bit too “Hi, I’m Troy McClure“. Get RID of the red velvet curtain in the background. 

In my opinion the people who would benefit from this kind of dietary change are the most unlikely to go to a health retreat. While I like his concept, the marketing seems wrong to me. The market segment that needs this info the most are low income earners, with busy lifestyles and poor nutritional knowledge. They are not going to spend 10 days in a health retreat. They need this packaged in a way that makes sense and has value to them.  Processed, prepackaged food is expensive. Meat and animal products are expensive. Grains and legumes are cheap.  Fresh fruit and vegetables are cheap. 

Having heart disease is expensive.

Not having heart disease is cheap. 

There are a lot of people that can be reached if a product or service breaks convention with its advertising. The success of the Skinny Bitch series can be attributed to:

  • the lack of the word “Vegan” in the title
  • the chick lit style cover
  • a paparazzi photo of Victoria Beckham emerging from a shop clutching the book

If the authors of the Skinny Bitch series had titled their books “Vegan Fare” and used cover art of an kitchen bench laden with fruits and vegetables they would have significantly reduced their audience. I think the McDougall program is doing great things with their diet vs drugs philosophy (peas vs pills, oatmeal vs obesity, cabbage vs CABG), but they haven’t broken convention enough with the way they spread their message. It’s possible that their methods of communication mean that they’re only preaching to the converted (and the willing to be converted). 

I’d like to see the MacDougalls cut loose a little. 

There must be 50 ways to leave your lover…

March 10, 2009

copyright Peter Walker

When one changes from deep discussions about whether or not to go serif or sans serif on a particular font for a campaign, to learning different ways the human body can malfunction, it can be a bit of an adjustment.

I was trained in communication theory + practice; to persuasively argue any point (whether it was correct or not), + to sell any product (whether I believed in it or not) to a profiled, segmented target market. Lord, I wrote an essay on a SKYY vodka print commercial that received a high distinction whilst actually including the sentence “The values connoted by way in which the lime is sliced are different than if curled lime rind had been used (connoting femininity) or a thin slice had been placed on the rim of the glass (connoting relaxation).”  

I was in a delightfully, indulgent world where people gave a damn about semiotics, shades of colour + originality.

This new world of physiology only gives a damn about facts. 

Facts shown in flowcharts. Flowcharts that break the disease process down to show how hypoxia of a certain area leads to anoxia which leads to cell death which leads to tissue death which can cause enough damage to lead to…well, death-death. 

So, I find myself humming this song, getting my head around the fact that there are more ways to expire than I have ever imagined possible.


Modern Health

January 23, 2009


Smokin' hot doctor

 I am not a lover of newness. I like old, pre-loved, used, second-hand etc. My favourite shopping experiences are not at those sanitised Op-shops who actually fold things, vacuum + price their linen/books/crockery similarly to K-mart but the hardcore junk shops, + salvage centres (the ones next to the dump). I prefer my trash to be jumbled up so I have to dig to the bottom of a pile of broken chairs before I find *the* table/sideboard etc. I like my shop assistants to be sweaty, hairy old men who wear singlets + stubbies. They need to grunt + shrug when I ask the price before giving me an overall total of “5 bucks, aye?”. 

This is a family thing. My father does it. My father’s father does it. My father’s father’s father did it. Dad still comes home with stuff from the tip when he drops off a trailer load off even though there are  laws now saying you can’t take ‘rubbish’. Granddad trawls the weekend papers for deceased estates because “that’s where the best bargains are” and my great granddad built his shed (which was his family’s first home) from other people’s leftover wood. 

So that is the background. Here is the story. One of my latest treasures from a particularly authentic, dusty, dirty junk shop is a *classic* textbook called Modern Ways to Health (Volume II), which I strangely can’t find listed anywhere on our suggested textbook list. I can’t find the publishing date, but I’m assuming that’s because back then they didn’t use the current calendar system we do now.

When a scanner is purchased, I’ll scan some of the articles because I really can’t do them justice without photos. For now, please visualise a black and white photo of a fat man eating a large whipped cream-esque dessert with a spoon. Headline reads:


(Article reads) This man is digging his grave with his teeth. If he is driving to work, sitting down all day, and coming home to watch his television programmes, he is sitting down too much. His wife may run around the house all day during her work and often walks around town all day shopping. Whatever else she may accomplish, she at least gets some rather useful exercise, which helps to keep her fit. (end quote)

It goes on to suggest ways to cut down animal fats, walk more and helpfully points out how “no person who is already fat can afford to even look at ice cream!”. Suffice to say, I love this book. 

I have an urge to lug it to uni and interrupt lectures to argue “Sir, I think you’ll find in the current edition of Modern ways to Health, page 427 states that a deep sun tan is a sign of good health + we should all aspire to have one.” 

Best be off. I have so much running around the house to do, not to mention the all day shopping I must do in town before dutchboy comes home + needs his slippers warmed. His does get terribly tetchy if they’re not done in time for his programmes.